Wild cards have a shot in deep playoff field

The playoff road is never easy for wild-card teams, but the field this season is deep and suited to the challenge, writes Michael Smith.

Updated: January 2, 2006, 2:37 PM ET
By Michael Smith | ESPN.com

The road to Super Bowl XL begins Saturday and Sunday, wild-card weekend. For the postseason's four wild-card entries, not only is that road long, in a travel sense, it's more literal.

Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Washington secured playoff berths on the final Sunday of the season; the Steelers and Redskins had to win four and five games in a row, respectively, to get in. Now, along with Jacksonville, they all get to hit the road for -- they hope -- the next several weeks.

Each will have to ...

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